Running via the CLI

As well as calling an applications Controllers via the URL in a browser they can also be loaded via the command-line interface (CLI).

What is the CLI?

The command-line interface is a text-based method of interacting with computers. For more information, check the Wikipedia article.

Why run via the command-line?

There are many reasons for running CodeIgniter from the command-line, but they are not always obvious.

  • Run your cron-jobs without needing to use wget or curl.
  • Make your cron-jobs inaccessible from being loaded in the URL by checking the return value of is_cli().
  • Make interactive “tasks” that can do things like set permissions, prune cache folders, run backups, etc.
  • Integrate with other applications in other languages. For example, a random C++ script could call one command and run code in your models!

Let’s try it: Hello World!

Let’s create a simple controller so you can see it in action. Using your text editor, create a file called Tools.php, and put the following code in it:

<?php
class Tools extends \CodeIgniter\Controller {

        public function message($to = 'World')
        {
                echo "Hello {$to}!".PHP_EOL;
        }
}

Then save the file to your application/Controllers/ directory.

Now normally you would visit the your site using a URL similar to this:

example.com/index.php/tools/message/to

Instead, we are going to open Terminal in Mac/Linux or go to Run > “cmd” in Windows and navigate to our CodeIgniter project’s web root.

$ cd /path/to/project/public
$ php index.php tools message

If you did it right, you should see Hello World! printed.

$ php index.php tools message "John Smith"

Here we are passing it a argument in the same way that URL parameters work. “John Smith” is passed as a argument and output is:

Hello John Smith!

That’s the basics!

That, in a nutshell, is all there is to know about controllers on the command line. Remember that this is just a normal controller, so routing and _remap() works fine.

However, CodeIgniter provides additional tools to make creating CLI-accessible scripts even more pleasant, include CLI-only routing, and a library that helps you with CLI-only tools.

CLI-Only Routing

In your Routes.php file you can create routes that are only accessible from the CLI as easily as you would create any other route. Instead of using the get(), post(), or similar method, you would use the cli() method. Everything else works exactly like a normal route definition:

$routes->cli('tools/message/(:segment)', 'Tools::message/$1');

For more information, see the Routes page.

The CLI Library

The CLI library makes working with the CLI interface simple. It provides easy ways to output text in multiple colors to the terminal window. It also allows you to prompt a user for information, making it easy to build flexible, smart tools.

See the CLI Library page for detailed information.